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    The importance of awareness (and dancing bears)

    Who I am
    Robert Maurer
    @robertmaurer
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    Awareness is the basis of any change. Practicing it is one of the secrets to change your life.

    "No anger at the past or fear of the future: only awareness of the present."

    J. Thurber.

    More than theinformation age, ours should be considered theera of distraction. We have become addicts of information: text messages, e-mails, apps, facebook, twitterpinterestyoutubegoogle +. We compulsively check our smartphones, tablets and computers, constantly waiting for a new notification, a new news, a new "like". If for some reason the cell phone battery runs out or the connection goes down, we feel impatient, nervous, lost.



    Basically, we consider the distractions our precious allies: it is only thanks to them that we are able to keep ours away problems and to delude ourselves that ours target they will come true by themselves. The reality is that unaddressed problems inevitably come back to haunt us and unfulfilled goals fuel our worst regrets.

    'mazza Andrè, what optimism today! Did you eat fried boar last night ?! And who will never indulge in some distraction: always with the obsession of being hyper-effective: take it easy!

    Distractions, pleasures of life and awareness

    Don't get me wrong: I'm a huge fan of the little pleasures of life. But to confuse distractions with real pleasures is to do yourself a disservice. Facebook, Whatsapp or Pokémon Go are nothing more than mere substitutes for what life can really give us: considering them real pleasures is like comparing the “4 jumps in the pan” to grandma's ragù.

    Yet he is stronger than us: we should work / study and instead we find ourselves checking our Facebook page ("only for 5 minutes!"). We are with our friends and we send messages to the girlfriend; we are with the girlfriend and we send messages to friends. We have promised ourselves to read more, but ... man, how can you give up a new game of Ruzzle ?!



    Why the heck do we do this ?! Many believe it is a problem of willpower. Yes, I agree, willpower is a very important character trait and it is no coincidence that I have dedicated several posts to it (one of my favorites is this one); yet I don't think it's just a lack of determination. There is something that comes before being steadfast and self-disciplined. There is something that underlies every decision we make. There is something that, if practiced daily, can positively distort our life. There awareness. You do not believe me? So let's do a little test to find out what your level of awareness is: are you there? ;-)

    Awareness test

    Before even talking to you about what awareness means, why it is so important and how you can practice it in your daily life, I would like to offer you this awareness test. The video is in English, but don't worry, it's very simple and all you have to do is follow these simple instructions:

    1. Play the video.
    2. You will see 8 basketball players divided into 2 teams: the "Bianca"And the"black".
    3. Count the exact number of ball passes played by the "white" team.

    Clear? Click play and count how many times the players with the white shirts pass the ball:

    Then? How many passes have the players in "white" made? 13, excellent. But did you notice the dancing bear that crossed the scene ?! :-D


    Nice video, right? It was used as an awareness campaign to reduce the number of accidents involving two-wheelers in the city of London. The message is simple and clear: ours awareness it is much lower than we might think. Increasing it can therefore help us to save many cyclists ;-) But this is not the only benefit. They exist in fact 3 levels of awareness. Taking note of this “hierarchy of awareness” and practicing every day those actions (or non-actions) that are capable of increasing your level of attention can make an important difference in your life.


    The 3 levels of awareness and how to reach them PraticaMente

    In my experience, awareness must be practiced a 3 levels. No quiet, no menate niu-eig, angels or cosmic vibrations; the levels of awareness I want to talk to you about are very concrete and will allow you to have more productive days, but above all they will help you achieve your more ambitious goals. Here are the 3 levels. I have chosen to give it some nice names to help you memorize them.

    1st level: the awareness of the German tourist

    Have you ever met one of those German tourists who wandered a little lost in the historic center of one of our wonderful cities? All our unfortunate tourist needed was a ... direction.

    At the first level we have the awareness of direction we intend to give to our life. All the strategies I talk about on GetPersonalGrowth are completely useless if you don't become aware of where you want to go and where you want to go. Do you ever wonder: why are you doing your job? Why did you choose your university faculty? Where will your current habits take you 5 years from now?


    Let's face it: you don't have to sign up for the "mental saw festival"; but living without a direction, spending every single day mechanically, is equivalent to not living at all. If you want to become more aware of the direction you want to give your life, I suggest you review this blog article: "How to find your life purpose".

    2nd level: Marty McFly's awareness

    Remember the legendary Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly, in "Back to the Future“? In Episode II, young Marty meets his 30-year-old self. All his rock star dreams are shattered by the harsh reality: his i future he is nothing more than a middle-aged failure. Be aware of what the direction that we want to give to our life is not enough: it is necessary to develop a second level of awareness. To fulfill our life purpose, we must act in the present.


    We decide our future now, not in 30 years.

    Developing this type of awareness means doing something that is as easy to say as it is difficult to do: stop procrastinating. It is now clear to you why he wrote so many articles on procrastination and do not miss an opportunity to give you mine Start guide!?! ;-)

    3rd level: the awareness of the Zen Monk

    Ok! We understand that it is important to give one direction to our life, we are aware that we must stop procrastinating... in short: the most is done! Not even for a dream ... the third and last level of awareness is missing ...

    This last level refers to the awareness of the present moment; that same awareness that would have helped you find thedancing bear. In other words we are talking about: concentration. I try to ask you a simple question: when was the last time you studied / worked, for half an hour straight, without the slightest distraction (no internet, TV or smartphone)? Here, indeed! Do you really think you can achieve your most ambitious goals by living in a perennial state of deconcentration?

    Each time we interrupt our activities, it takes about 10 minutes before we reach a full state again concentration e productivity (also known as flux). In other words, the distractions are real Destruction Actions: Destroy + Actions. If you want to practice awareness of the present moment you have to intervene on 2 points:

    • Eliminate distractions. Whenever you need to carry on an important work activity or a study session, turn off or mute your smartphone and, if not essential, turn off the internet. Working in distraction-free 25-30 minute intervals will dramatically increase your personal productivity.
    • Use concentration techniques. To develop a greater awareness of the present moment, there are various techniques of concentration. Constantly practicing these techniques before your work / study sessions can make a huge difference. One of my absolute favorites is definitely the mandarin technique.
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